Huawei’s Android 9 Pie-based EMUI 9.0 rolling out globally (Update: India, too!)

huawei mate 20 pro

Update, January 11, 2019 (1:54PM EST): Honor announced that the EMUI 9.0 update is rolling out to the Honor 10, Honor View 10, and Honor Play in India. Don’t fret if you live in India and don’t get the update right away — the rollout will likely happen over the next few days and even weeks, so be patient.


Original article, December 19, 2018 (6:35PM EST): Huawei recently announced that its EMUI 9.0 Android overlay is rolling out to supported devices around the world.

In the next few days, EMUI 9.0 will roll out to the following devices:

The EMUI 9.0 update weighs around 4GB, so make sure you’re on a decent Wi-Fi connection. Those on the EMUI 9.0 beta can expect a smaller 770MB update to the stable release.

Keep in mind that the list of supported devices may grow over time. Devices like the Honor 8X, Huawei Mate 20 Lite, Honor 8C, and similarly-new Huawei and Honor devices might also get EMUI 9.0 down the road.

Based on Android 9 Pie, EMUI 9.0 uses AI to increase the system response speed by 25.8 percent. Huawei also claims that EMUI 9.0 shortens app startup by 102ms and increases overall system fluency by 12.9 percent compared to EMUI 8.1.

Editor’s Pick

EMUI 9.0 also features GPU Turbo 2.0, the next iteration of Huawei’s game optimization software. Huawei claims that GPU Turbo 2.0 lowers touch delays by 36 percent and decreases hot spots temperature by up to 3.6 degrees Celsius compared to EMUI 8.1.

You’ll also find Huawei’s versions of certain Google features in EMUI 9.0. For example, Digital Balance and HiVision take clear inspiration from Digital Wellbeing and Google Lens, respectively.

Finally, EMUI 9.0 includes a gesture-based system and a more streamlined experience that cuts the number of menus down from 940 to 843.

If you have a Huawei or Honor device that runs EMUI 9.0, let us know your experiences in the comments below!

Running Samsung Dex and EMUI on a 49-inch ultrawide monitor? Sure, why not

Samsung CJ89 Monitor Wide Angle Picture

Chrome OS and Android offer portable alternatives to your traditional Mac and Windows desktop environments and some big phone names have been working to improve the Android experience further. It’s been a while since we played around with some of the most well-known options, so we thought it was time we caught up. While not as fully featured as a traditional OS, Samsung Dex and Huawei EMUI offer functional desktop environments bringing mobile apps to big screens.

There are few bigger screens than the ultra-wide-screen 49-inch Samsung CJ89 monitor. The monitor supports display inputs over USB Type-C, making it an ideal testbed for running smartphone desktops. Before we dive into a bit more about the mobile-come-desktop experience, here’s an overview of the Samsung CJ89 monitor.

Meet the Samsung CJ89

At 49 inches, the Samsung CJ89 is a monster. It completely fills your peripheral vision, which is arguably a tad impractical. It’s basically impossible to take everything in at once. I’m used to a dual monitor setup, but the CJ89 really is something else. “Super ultra-wide screen,” as Samsung describes it, probably doesn’t go far enough. You can easily fit three or four windows side by side.

  Samsung J89 specs
Display Size 48.9-inches
Aspect Ratio 32:9
Screen Curvature & Viewing Angle 1800Rm, 178°(H) / 178°(V)
Resolution 3,840 x 1,080
or 2x 1,920 x 1,080
Response Time 5ms (gray-to-gray)
Refresh Rate 144Hz
Contrast Radio 3000:1 (Typical),
2400:1 (Min)
Brightness 300cd/m2 (Typical),
250cd/m2 (Min)
HDR? No
Ports 1x HDMI (v2.0)
1x Display Port (v1.2)
2x USB Type-C
3x USB Type-A
1x 3.5mm headphones

Quality wise, the display hits the right notes. It could probably do with a little more vertical resolution than just 1,080, but that would bump up the graphics requirements to power this beast. At 300 nits, it’s retina-scorchingly bright when cranked up up all the way in my dingy office. Meanwhile, the contrast and color balance are perfectly fine for my eye, though the display is more about its crazy width rather than groundbreaking specs. There’s no HDR support here, for example, and the 7W built-in speakers are no match for a dedicated external pair.

The monitor features a ton of ports on the back, though just one HDMI 2.0 and one DisplayPort 1.2 for PC connections. The rest are USB ports to connect up peripherals, two of which are USB Type-C supporting high wattage Power Delivery to charge up phones and tablets. The USB Type-C ports also support display signals, meaning you can mirror your laptop, tablet, or phone’s display.

Samsung CJ89 Monitor Ports

I hope you like USB ports because the CJ89 has plenty of them, but only one HDMI and one DP.

Single monitor, dual inputs

One of the Samsung CJ89’s more unique features is its Picture-by-Picture mode. This takes inputs from two of the port inputs, which it can mix and match, and displays them simultaneously. Supported secondary inputs include another PC, a laptop, or a mobile device.

Furthermore, these secondary devices can connect using a range of inputs. The two USB Type-C ports on the back support Android screen cloning, EMUI Desktop, and Samsung Dex. They are also powered at up to 15W and 95W, so they can charge up your phone and power the Samsung Dex Station while running the display.

Picture-by-Picture mode allows you to run two devices on the display side by side

Samsung CJ89 Monitor DEX

The feature isn’t seamless when using a Dex Station. This slightly older Samsung product doesn’t support video over a USB Type-C connection, so you need to connect using the HDMI port on the back of the Dex Station to the monitor. There’s only one HDMI connector, so you’ll have to mess around with adaptors to keep your primary PC connected too.

This isn’t a problem with the latest Samsung devices. Both the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and  Galaxy Tab S4 support Dex over just a USB Type-C cable. These models remove the need for a dock altogether, matching Huawei’s EMUI Desktop. When connecting via USB-C, you can use your PC keyboard and monitor by flicking a simple switch.

Why use Android desktop environments?

The persistent question about Samsung’s Dex and Huawei’s EMUI is why? Why use a slightly sluggish, less comprehensive operating system for PC work when you probably have a perfectly functioning desktop or laptop at hand?

There’s something rather helpful about having the same apps you regularly use on your phone on your desktop side-by-side. Ensuring the morning’s emails are answered and properly synced, without having to rely on Outlook or various web tabs, is great. It’s also rather neat for apps with notifications, like Slack or WhatsApp, so your phone and PC app don’t duplicate the notifications. Having one app at your desk for each feature is less hectic and there’s plenty of room on this monitor for that type of multitasking.

Samsung CJ89 Monitor EMUI

Handling the work day’s usual phone notifications in a desktop environment is a pleasant change

That you can also use a single keyboard and mouse setup for both operating systems with this monitor makes this actually practical. That said, you have to fiddle with the Switch USB button to swap the peripherals over. It’s a necessary feature, but it prevents this from being a seamless experience. Especially as there’s a slight delay during the changeover, as it’s basically unplugging and plugging your keyboard back into Windows.

This side-by-side feature definitely won’t be a major selling point for many consumers. Those dipping their toes into Dex or EMUI might actually get some good use out of a dual monitor type setup like this though. Of course, if you’re simply planning to plug your computer into this monitor, you’ll avoid most of the pain points I’ve mentioned here.

Samsung CJ89 Super Wide Screen Monitor

Final thoughts

If you’re wanting to use a monitor like this as I have, the Samsung CJ89 is definitely built for modern devices that support monitors over USB Type-C. Laptop class power over USB Type-C also makes the monitor a power hub for your portable gadgets. However, the single HDMI input makes it difficult to use the multi-display mode with older devices. You can always use cable adapters, but I wouldn’t recommend it. While mobile desktop options have improved in recent years, they’re still no match for a dedicated desktop.

Editor’s Pick

As an ultra-wide-screen monitor, the Samsung CJ89 is pretty great. With a 32:9 aspect ratio, the 49-inch monitor has plenty of space for multiple applications. Once you get used to the monitor’s humongous size, it’s a multitaskers dream. The biggest drawback is its 7W speakers, which are passable for voice but frankly terrible for music and film sound effects.

At 899 pounds and 1,409 euros (around $1,140) this is an expensive monitor I personally can’t quite justify. At this price point, the monitor should offer HDR, a higher resolution, and support for FreeSync to make the most of its 144Hz refresh rate. Dex certainly works, but I’m not switching over to a mobile OS for work anytime soon. The idea is undeniably enticing though: as phone desktop modes improve, you could save so much money on a computer you could (maybe) justify spending at least some of it on a crazy ultra-wide monitor like this.

Honor Magic 2 review: A phone full of new tricks

The Honor Magic 2 is an exclusive smartphone to China markets, but it’s a very compelling device and could pave the way for future smartphones. It has a slider design, six cameras, an in-screen fingerprint sensor, and a notch-free bezel-less display.

Is the experience as magical as it sounds or is this phone simply just smoke and mirrors? Find out in our Honor Magic 2 review.

Design

Honor Magic 2

On the outside, the Honor Magic 2 looks like your average flagship smartphone. It’s constructed of glass panels on the front and rear with a metal frame holding it all together. The build quality is exceptional. The entire phone makes heavy use of rounded corners, sides, and tapered edges for a sleek appearance that’s more comfortable.

Honor Magic 2 slider

The slider form factor allows Honor to achieve a nearly bezel-less screen with no notch and have the front facing cameras hidden.

What makes the Honor Magic 2’s design unique is its slider mechanism. This is similar to the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 and will give you feelings of nostalgia if you ever used old school slider phones from yesteryears. The slider form factor allows Honor to achieve a nearly bezel-less screen with no notch and have the front facing cameras hidden. Sliding the screen downwards will reveal the three front-facing cameras.

Honor Magic 2 front camera

Having a moving part on a smartphone undoubtedly raises concerns over hardware failure but I don’t see this slider failing anytime soon. The slider mechanism feels sturdy, durable, and solidly holds the front and back half of the phone into place whether the phone is opened or closed. The slider mechanism does, however, prevent the phone from being water and dust resistant. Dust actually collects quite easily in the areas exposed when the slider is open. So far this hasn’t negatively affected the Magic 2 in any way, but do your best to keep these areas clean all the same.

Honor Magic 2

Just like the Huawei P20 Pro from Honor’s parent company, the Magic 2 features gradient color schemes. The model I’ve been using is the black edition, but it looks more silver than black. The Magic 2 also comes in red and blue variants. The black model flows from a bright silver on the top half to a dark blue on the bottom half of the phone. The gradient color is beautiful and eye-catching, but the reflective finish makes the Magic 2 hard to keep clean from fingerprints. The protruding camera lenses on the rear are also a magnet for dust and equally difficult to keep clean.

Display

Honor Magic 2 display

The Honor Magic 2 features a large 6.39-inch full-view 2,340 x 1,080 AMOLED display with incredibly thin bezels surrounding all sides. As mentioned earlier, there is no notch, so you get a fullscreen experience with no cutout. The display looks gorgeous. Colors are vibrant, viewing angles are fantastic, and the screen is sharp and crisp. Viewing content on this display is enjoyable and text and graphics are easy to read. Outdoor visibility on the Magic 2’s display also posed no issues, it gets plenty bright to comfortably see in direct sunlight.

Performance

Honor Magic 2

Editor’s Pick

The Honor Magic 2 is no slouch in performance. The Magic 2 has the same horsepower as the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, with a Kirin 980 SoC and 6GB or 8GB of RAM. The Kirin 980 is one of the most powerful chipsets on the market so it’s no surprise that the Magic 2 performs very well in benchmarks and real-world use. The phone is extremely fast to launch applications, multitask, and navigating through the UI is a silky smooth experience. Gaming is also great. High-end titles from the Google Play Store such as Shadowgun Legends runs smoothly with great graphics and consistent frame rates.





Battery life performance is equally impressive. Although the 3,400mAh battery is not as large as those of Huawei’s P series and Mate series, it’s been more than adequate for the Honor Magic 2. With a good mixture of reading emails, text messages, browsing social media, playing games, and watching YouTube, Magic 2 easily lasted me through a full day. Screen-on time consistently reached the five-hour mark which should be more than enough for most users. The Honor Magic 2 also features a 40W fast charger in the box that gets you a 50 percent charge in only 15 minutes.




Hardware

Honor Magic 2 usb c

Hardware on the Honor Magic 2 is fairly run of the mill. There’s a single USB Type-C port at the bottom accompanied by a single speaker. You won’t find a headphone jack anywhere on the device. There’s also no wireless charging or microSD expansion but the Magic 2 offers plenty of internal storage with 128 and 256-gigabyte options.

Honor Magic 2 fingerprint sensor

It isn’t frustratingly awful to use but it’s not as good as a standard fingerprint sensor.

The Honor Magic 2 has an in-display fingerprint sensor, similar to the Oppo R17 Pro and the OnePlus 6T. A small area of the display is illuminated with a fingerprint graphic to show you where to place your finger to properly unlock the device. One thing all in-display fingerprint sensors currently have in common is their slowness an inconsistency — the Magic 2 is no different. It isn’t frustratingly awful to use but it’s not as good as a standard fingerprint sensor. This technology will get considerably better over time but we probably won’t get to that point until next year.

Camera

Honor Magic 2 rear cameras

Another truly unique feature of the Honor Magic 2 is the camera setup, because it has six sensors — three on the rear and three on the front. The main camera on the rear is a 16-megapixel f/1.8 lens, accompanied by a 16-megapixel wide angle and 24-megapixel monochrome sensor. The monochrome sensor is used for capturing black and white photos and portrait mode photography.

Honor Magic 2

The main front-facing camera is also 16MP, flanked by two additional 2MP cameras. The main sensor is the only one for taking photos, while the 2MP sensors are meant for 3D facial unlocking, portrait mode, and portrait mode lighting effects. The 3D facial unlock works very well and is extremely fast. Slide the phone open to reveal the camera, and the phone unlocks before you know it. This is a much more secure option for unlocking the Magic 2, and it’s much faster and more reliable than the fingerprint sensor.

Both the front and rear cameras take advantage of the Kirin 980’s NPU, incorporating AI scene recognition. This means the camera can recognize scenes and objects like food, plants, urban landscapes, pets, and more, and adjust the image accordingly for the best results. While having the AI scene recognition enabled makes a difference in the way the images look, it isn’t easily noticeable in every scene. In some situations, you might even prefer your photos without the AI enhancements and it’s probably better to keep it turned off if you prefer to tweak your images manually.



General image quality from the rear camera is quite impressive and I found very little to complain about with the Magic 2 as my daily smartphone camera. The camera produces sharp images with accurate colors and excellent contrast. Dynamic range on the Honor Magic 2’s cameras provides great shadow and highlight detail and high contrast situations were handled very well. The camera also performs well in low light. Details are still very crisp and sharp, images are still full of color, and there is very little noise. Highlights in low light situations are handled very well thanks to the camera’s excellent dynamic range. There’s no blooming or overexposure which helps retain plenty of detail.

We’ve included a gallery below for easy viewing but you can see the full resolution images by clicking here.

Software

Honor Magic 2

If you don’t like EMUI, the Magic 2 won’t do much to change your opinion.

The Honor Magic 2 ships with the latest Android 9.0 Pie with Magic UI 2.0 on top. Magic UI is essentially the same interface as EMUI found on other Honor or Huawei devices, but it’s been rebranded for the Magic 2. If you’ve used EMUI before and enjoy the experience, you’ll feel right at home on the Magic 2. If you don’t like EMUI, the Magic 2 won’t do much to change your opinion. I prefer a more stock-like experience so EMUI’s colorful and cartoonish aesthetics aren’t exactly my cup of tea.




With Magic UI 2.0 Honor has implemented its own AI assistant called “YOYO.” This virtual assistant is machine-learning capable and supposed to have mind-reading capabilities, which sounds strange to say the least. Unfortunately, I was unable to test this feature, as it currently only understands Mandarin. This makes sense considering the Honor Magic 2 is only marketed in China. Because this is a device for China markets you’ll also find many Chinese applications pre-installed. Should this device ever come to other markets these apps will most likely not be installed but it’s something to be aware of should you decide to import the Magic 2.

Specifications

  Honor Magic 2
Display 6.39-inch AMOLED
2340 x 1080
403PPI
SoC Huawei Kirin 980
Octa-core CPU (2 @ 2.6GHz, 2 @ 1.92GHz, 4 @ 1.8GHz)
Dual NPU
GPU Arm Mali-G76 MP10
720Mhz
RAM 6GB/8GB
LPDDR4X
Storage 128GB/256GB
Non-expandable
Cameras Main: 16MP f/1.8 sensor
Second: 16MP f/2.2 ultra wide angle sensor
Third: 24MP f/1.8 monochrome sensor
Front:
Main: 16MP f/2.0 sensor
Second: 2MP f/2.4 sensor
Third: 2MP f/2.4 sensor
Audio No headphone jack
Battery 3,400mAh
40 watt SuperCharge
Sensors Gravity
Proximity
Hall
Ambient Light
Front 3D camera
In-Display Fingerprint
Connectivity Wi-FI 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4Ghz/5Ghz
Bluetooth 5.0
Dual frequency GPS
Glonass
Beidou
Galileo
QZSS
NFC
USB Type-C
SIM Dual nano-SIM
Software Magic UI 2.0 or EMUI 9.0
Android 9.0 Pie
Dimensions and weight 157.32 x 75.13 x 8.3mm
206g
Colors Black, Blue, Red

Pricing & final thoughts

Honor Magic 2 design

The Honor Magic 2 costs 3,799 yuan (~$545) for the base model with 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage, 4,299 yuan (~$615) for 8GB RAM and 128GB model, and 4,799 yuan (~$690) for the 8GB RAM version with 256GB of storage. Pricing is very competitive compared to many other flagship smartphones.

Considering how feature packed and powerful the Magic 2 is, it’s a great deal. The notch free display, six cameras, and slider design offer a wonderful and unique hardware experience. The unfortunate part is you’ll most likely pay a lot more to import it, as Honor has no plans to release it elsewhere. If you want a similar slider phone experience, the more widely available Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 might be a better option.

Next: Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 hands-on: The bezel-less slider